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£12m Boost For MCR To Be Superconnected

Free city centre Wifi coming soon - maybe

Published on September 20th 2012.


£12m Boost For MCR To Be Superconnected

MANCHESTER has made progress in its drive to become a 'superconnected city.'

he project will also tackle issues of digital exclusion in so-called 'white areas' where the private sector have been reluctant to invest. 

Confirmation has arrived of £12 million of government funding to spread the advantages of ultrafast broadband. This comes in the wake of the announcement earlier this month that Manchester will become one of the first cities in the UK to get superfast 4G mobile.

The Council is also currently exploring the market to find a suitable partner to deliver free Wi-Fi in public spaces across the city. It is hoped to launch the first phase - in the city centre - before Christmas, with other parts of the city to follow.

The Manchester Digital City plans, to be funded through today's announcement, will complement a Greater Manchester-wide strategy to roll out ultrafast broadband across the city region.

It aims to make ultrafast broadband available to 228,000 premises in total - with the aspiration that the latest government funding will help bring it to 27,700 residents and 6,200 businesses by 2015.

Additional funding will also be available to support small and medium-sized businesses which require even faster connectivity, including providing suport and advice to help them maximise the benefits.

And high-speed wireless connections will be installed across key public areas and along major transport corridors, making it easier than ever for people in the city to get online quickly.

The project will also tackle issues of digital exclusion in so-called 'white areas' where the private sector have been reluctant to invest. Currently only 74 per cent of residents can access broadband, with take-up particularly low in communities such as Wythenshawe and east Manchester.

Removing this 'digital divide' will radically improve the potential to deliver online services to residents.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Environment, said: "The Manchester Digital City package will result in high speed internet access for all of our residents and businesses, promoting social inclusion and stimulating economic growth, particularly in the digital and media industries.

"We aim to be one of the world's top 20 digital cities by 2020 and these latest developments in ultrafast broadband, 4G and Wi-Fi are all significant steps forward."

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DavidSeptember 20th 2012.

Manchester does provide free wifi at certain locations in the city centre.But this seems a bit pointless as Starbucks,Cafe Nero,Costa Coffee,Kendals etc,all provide free wifi now.Plus city professionals can also afford their own mobile wifi.
Surely it would be better to concentrate the provision of free wifi in those areas of the city where providing it,would encourage regeneration.Especially as it it those on low income who would benefit most from free wifi access.

TomSeptember 20th 2012.

I already use Manchester Council's free wifi around the Northern Quarter and the art gallery. Is this an extension of that service? If so, brilliant! It's so easy to get online and really fast. When the weather allows, I've even sat under the wifi tree. Only in Manchester :D

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mark BoyceSeptember 25th 2012.

open wifi, 0 security.

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2012.

Since I am a BT subscriber I have Openworld and Fon (where I generous share with passers by ;-) but I would like the fibre box on Whitworth street connected.The commercial people should get together with City Co and their organisations to DIY

By the way on BT I get 16mbs these days which works iPlayer HD a dream.

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2012.

I assume you have you smart phone fully protected Mark Boyce?

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